Mar 2, 2012
Donohue leaves Michigan Apple Committee

Denise Donohue has stepped down as executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee (MAC), the grower-funded, nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to encourage consumption of Michigan apples. Diane Smith is now the interim executive director.

Donohue left MAC to start Donohue Associates, a marketing firm, with her husband, William Donohue.

Smith became interim director Feb. 29.

“Diane has been with the committee for over 16 years and has incredibly strong institutional knowledge of the organization, the industry and our growers,” said Scott Lewis, a New Era, Mich., grower and MAC chair. “The board is confident in her ability to lead MAC through this transitional period.”

Smith said MAC’s board would meet in March to decide what the next steps will be.

“I am pleased to accept the interim role to ensure that MAC continues to pursue its mission,” she said. “The staff and I will continue to work hard to promote Michigan fresh apples and processed apple products.”

“Diane and I have worked side-by-side on every issue, from guest workers to pesticide regulation and other public policy matters, special events and grower outreach over the last eight years,” Donohue said. “The committee and the apple growers of Michigan will be in good hands.”

Donohue worked hard for the industry since she was named MAC’s executive director in 2003, Lewis said.

“Denise has been an incredible advocate for the Michigan apple industry and should be commended for her service,” he said. “Her efforts opened and grew many markets for our industry, in large part because of her media relations and marketing strategies.”

Being director of MAC is a demanding job, covering everything from public policy to food safety to marketing to research, Donohue said. Her first love is marketing, however, something she couldn’t focus on full-time at MAC.

“I’m ready to try something new,” she said.

Donohue was a public information officer at the Michigan Department of Agriculture for five years before joining MAC. She has a bachelor’s degree in horticulture and a master’s degree in journalism, both from Michigan State University.
Donohue Associates, based in DeWitt, Mich., will provide integrated marketing services for the food and produce industries, she said.

Matt Milkovich

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